AAMARP artists exhibit at the Boston International Fine Art Show
The Boston International Fine Art Show, running at the Boston Center for the Arts through Oct. 21, will host an exhibition by Northeastern University’s African American Master Artists in Residence Program (AAMARP) for the first time this year.
Tony Fusco, co-organizer of the art show, was spurred by recent tensions between Northeastern and the AAMARP program. On June 28, the artists in the program were notified that they had to vacate their Northeastern studios by July 13 due to hazardous conditions. The deadline was later extended to July 31 and then Oct. 31.
“When I heard that, I was not happy,” says Fusco. “It’s hard enough for artists to find studio space and this [AAMARP] program has been going on since the 1970s.”
Dana Chandler founded AAMARP in an attempt to create a safe space for black artists who have been historically unwelcome in Boston. Many artists still feel that is the case. The program provided studio space and residencies for black creators, some of whom have been working through those residencies for decades.
The City of Boston has stepped in to mediate conversations between Northeastern and AAMARP over the future of the program, but tensions remain high. As a result, Fusco felt it was more important than ever to support platforms for black artists.
Art for all
At the Fine Art Show, nine of the 13 artists in the AAMARP collective will exhibit their work. “Diversity is the key to the show,” says Fusco. “It’s really no longer possible to have a Eurocentric art view.” Last year, the show supported Latinx artists through a collaboration with the Brazilian consulate, and in 2016 they ran a special program of female artists in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
There are other African American artists displaying at the show, including a presentation of John Wilson’s work by Martha Richardson Fine Art.
Visiting the show
One hundred percent of the proceeds from this year’s opening gala will go toward the Art for Justice Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that uses profits from the sale of donated fine art pieces to fight mass incarceration. The Art for Justice Fund also provides grants to social justice advocacy organizations and artists working toward the same goals.
Admission to the Fine Art Show runs $15 per person, free for children under 12. All lectures and special programs are included in the entrance fee. Sales aren’t the only goal of the weekend. “We hope people come away with a broader understanding of AAMARP,” says Fusco. “It’s a cultural gem here in Boston.”